Posted by: alegra22 | February 15, 2009


my-lifeIf I stay at it today, I will have reached my self-assigned deadline of 9000 words. I have 7200 divided into two chapters (plus, the short story I reworked which bumps me up slightly) now I just have to tackle the big bad third chapter introducing Mr.DeathHimself.

The thing is, I had grand visions of racing towards the 30,000 mark by now. I imagined that on top of this, I would also have finally finished working through the chewed up grammar book that I dragged halfway across the planet because without the kids, without the house, without Dan, I would have oh so much time on my hands and would basically be a productivity machine.

I had big plans. I would be doing all of this side by side with my mother, basking in her presence, throwing out a few hahaha one liners to keep my folks smiling and a happy family we would be. But a few days after my arrival I noticed a low-level buzzing beneath my skin, right behind my heart. For the first week I was teary-eyed and restless, absorbing the reality of why I came to California, what it all meant. With the news that my mother was clear for lymphoma, a certain weight was lifted, but still, the anxiety remains. I thought maybe it is the cold. The gray skies. And this could be a sliver of it. I don’t do well in the cold, everything about me contracts, grows tense, tries to conserve itself. But that isn’t the big issue here.

I figured it out last night while talking to Dan. I miss my kids in a visceral way that I had no way of being prepared for. I said to Dan last night “Mentally, I am able to cope during the day, at least I thought I was coping, but my body on the other hand, my body is a mother now and it knows that it is half a planet away from her young children and there is no way that is right, in any form.” I have been waking up from nightmares crying while still half-asleep. All of my dreams have to do with my children, with somehow being unable to protect them or be close to them when they need me.

Our ability to get into a plane and fly away, knowing that most likely we will be able to return, is a fairly recent development. My body and its wiring isn’t impressed with this ‘theory’, it only knows that its young offspring are far too far away for my radar to reach them and so, it is flipping out. Every other trip I have been away from my kids has been short and sweet, ten days at the most, and those ten days kept me so completely busy that I didn’t have time to register the ache for my bugaloos.

It has been good to see Sol on the webcam, but difficult at the same time. Zaviera is too young to make sense of it. She looks at her mommy trapped on the screen and she gets annoyed. It doesn’t make sense. At all. So she curls up and glowers at me. She says “Go away movie mommy!” and my heart breaks because I see her soft belly, her long limbs, her squeezable cheeks and I want to be two places at once.

I left New Zealand thinking of how productive and restful it would be to be here supporting my parents and I have learned a major lesson. I am not nearly as productive and restful as I am when I am surrounded by the chaos of my children, the love of my husband.

The old self was unmoored a long time ago, only I didn’t realize that it was a permanent shift. The single self Alegra is now an Alegra expanded into a family and just this taste of what it would be like, to be returned back to who I was before, has made me realize I would not give up who I have become for the world.

Four days and counting…and still, when I know I am back home with my children the buzzing will have settled, to be replaced by whining and demands and all sorts of beautiful chaos, but my heart will then be stretched back to California, missing my parents.

Like my mother last night said, ‘I don’t think families were ever meant to be separated from one another like this – to spread so far away.”

I agree, but how to shrink the world?



  1. This blog is SO relevant to my current situation. The disconnection you feel as a parent when you are away from your children is hard to explain to non-parents. That constant concern, anguish or worry you have about their wellbeing and safety is a scary thought.

    When you leave your single life behind you also start to leave a more self-centered, selfish person behind too. If you don’t, then being a parent is going to be very difficult for you indeed. You seem to have picked up that maternal instinct rather well I would have to say.

    I have been away from my daughters for almost 6 months (3 years ago)modern technology does make it easier, but keeping yourself focussed on the reason/purpose of your absence is key during these tough times. Your blog has reminded me of this. Having the knowledge that you have people who love you back home helps keep you doing what you need to do. writing for you and healing for me!

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